Setting Your New Year Resolutions: Taking Care of Yourself


Meredith Hemler

As the New Year quickly approaches, now is when we start thinking about improvements we want to make in various facets of our lives. Though losing weight and getting more exercise is often on many New Year’s resolution lists, we at AstraZeneca suggest adding one more important goal: check and control your blood pressure to help maintain your health.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects nearly 1 in 3 Americans. Many people don’t realize they have high blood pressure until it escalates and they have a heart attack or stroke.

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the measure of the force of blood pressing against the walls of your arteries.

Your blood pressure is measured with a blood pressure cuff in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and is recorded as two numbers: the top number (the higher of the two) measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats. The bottom number measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats.

What is normal blood pressure?

For healthy adults, normal blood pressure is anything below 120/80 mm Hg. High blood pressure occurs when the blood traveling through your blood vessels push too hard against the artery walls. Depending on your overall health, blood pressure over 120/80 mm Hg may be considered high.

Talk to your own health care provider about normal blood pressure and the right range for you.

What causes high blood pressure?

The exact cause of high blood pressure isn’t known, but several factors are believed to play a role in its development, such as smoking, being overweight, lack of exercise, stress, genetics, and family history of high blood pressure.

Why should I be concerned about lowering my blood pressure?

If you have high blood pressure, you may feel just fine, but it’s still important to lower your levels. Lowering high blood pressure reduces the risk of heart-related problems like stroke or heart attack. That’s why it’s important to get your blood pressure checked regularly.

What can I do to improve my blood pressure?

If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes to reduce your blood pressure, such as:

  • Losing weight
  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating a healthier diet, rich in fruits and vegetables
  • Reducing your sodium intake
  • Limiting alcohol consumption

Your doctor may also prescribe a medication like TOPROL-XL (metoprolol succinate) to treat your blood pressure.

Ring in the new year by keeping your health in mind! Celebrate 2015 by checking your levels and talking with your doctor about an appropriate treatment plan.

Important Safety Information About TOPROL-XL® (metoprolol succinate) Extended-Release Tablets

Because of the possibility of serious side effects, such as chest pain or a heart attack, you should not stop taking TOPROL-XL suddenly. If your doctor decides you should stop taking TOPROL-XL, you may be instructed to slowly reduce your dose over a period of time before stopping it completely.

TOPROL-XL may not be right for everyone, especially people who have the following health conditions:

  • Extreme slowing of the heart rate
  • Sudden and severe drop in blood pressure and blood flow through the body because the heart is not pumping normally
  • Uncontrolled heart failure
  • Slowdown of the heart’s electrical signal causing a slower heart rate
  • Damage to the heart’s natural pacemaker that affects the heart’s rhythm unless one has a pacemaker device
  • Any allergies to TOPROL-XL or its ingredients

It is important to take your medications every day as directed by your doctor.

Patients who have asthma or asthma-like lung disease should, in general, not take TOPROL-XL.

Your doctor may not want you to take TOPROL-XL if you are currently taking certain types of high blood pressure medicine, or have adrenal gland tumors, diabetes, low blood sugar, liver damage, overactive thyroid disease, or hardening of the arteries in the arms or legs.

Your doctor may not want you to start taking TOPROL-XL if you are about to have any type of surgery.

If you have a history of serious allergic reactions, the usual dose of epinephrine (adrenaline) may not work as well if you are taking TOPROL-XL.

Until you know how you will react to TOPROL-XL, avoid activities that require alertness.

Contact your doctor if you have any difficulty in breathing.

In patients with high blood pressure, the most common side effects were tiredness, dizziness, depression, diarrhea, itching or rash, shortness of breath, and slow heart rate. If you experience any of these or other side effects, contact your doctor.

Approved Use for TOPROL-XL

TOPROL-XL is approved for the treatment of high blood pressure. It may be used alone or in combination with other medications to treat high blood pressure. It’s good for you to know more about your medical condition and the medicine you are taking for it, so talk to your doctor about high blood pressure and TOPROL-XL.

Click here for full Prescribing Information, including Boxed WARNING about suddenly stopping therapy with TOPROL-XL.

For more information about TOPROL-XL, or to receive TOPROL-XL delivered right to your door, visit

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TOPROL-XL is a registered trademark of the AstraZeneca group of companies